DID YOU KNOW that social isolation is a deterrent to good health? Donn’s article in this newsletter references research showing that loneliness is as bad for us as smoking. Indeed, loneliness is becoming more and more prevalent, and not just with the elderly. It’s reported that 42.6 million adults over the age of 45 suffer from chronic loneliness. That’s a lot of lonely people! Many of VIA’s friends are lonely. Often referral calls include the statement, “He/she is so lonely. Do you have a volunteer who could be a friend?” Here are just a few examples from current VIA friends.
(Names have been changed to protect privacy)
- Roger has no family. He seldom connects with people, including those in his building. His loneliness is pervasive and steals joy from his life. Roger’s health is fragile. His volunteer is essentially a surrogate son.
- Judy is bitter about her serious health conditions and closes herself off from people. She has no friends or family, having pushed everyone away with her attitude. Loneliness surrounds her like Harry Potter’s Invisibility Cloak, hiding her away from everyone.
- Joseph, a new VIA client, told me, “I just want a friend who will encourage me.” His family lives back East and he has little communication with them. He has no one to sit and share a bit of life with him. His health is rapidly waning, and his soul feels empty.
VIA volunteers like you are filling voids of loneliness all over the Southeast Metro area. You fill gaps in the lives of individuals who are valuable in the eyes of the Father, regardless of their status in society. As conduits of Christ’s mercy, you are participating in God’s work of healing the brokenhearted. —Kelli Schuttinga, Volunteer Coordinator